Boris to Win 43 Seat Majority Says Meta-Poll

You’ve heard of meta-analyses, where academics who can’t be bothered to do their own research just nick everyone else’s hard work, crunch the numbers a bit, and come out with a super-accurate result? Well here is our META-POLL. After much reading of the papers, surfing the net, and even talking to people, we have concluded that the Tory party will win. (Bet you saw that coming eh?)

Why do we think that?

  1. Farage folded, as predicted here recently, avoided splitting the leave vote, and crowned the Tories as winners

  2. The Labour manifesto was written to appeal to hard-line left wingers – who would have voted for Jeremy anyway. Only the naïve or those too young to remember the 1970s could think that nationalisation is the answer. (See our earlier report on rail user numbers pre- and post – nationalisation). The “free” broadband idea went down well, but the practicalities are horrible. By the time it is built, at five times the original cost, technology will have made it obsolete. And the big beneficiaries will be the farmers and isolated rural communities – who will not be voting Labour under any circumstances. Meanwhile, their fence-sitting on Brexit feels a bit like “Follow Me….. I don’t know where we are going, but Follow Me!”

  3. The Liberal Democrats have shown themselves to be neither liberal nor democratic. Their reverse Article 50 campaign can only appeal to the most die-hard europhiles. Meanwhile, Jo Swinson has not done well. Her claims to be PM in waiting invite the retort that she’ll be waiting a very long time.

  4. The Tories have avoided a May-style manifesto-suicide-note. Divisive figures such as Rees-Mogg have been kept out of the limelight. Boris himself has picked his battles carefully, with more to lose than win.

So what happens now?

There are still considerable risks for Mr Johnson. Will the left-leaning students be too busy recovering from their end-of-term parties to vote?

Students preparing to oversleep and miss voting

Just how many people were too embarrassed to tell pollsters that they would vote Tory (but will anyway)? Will tactical voting have any impact? Will Mr Trump try to intervene? He is not great at keeping his thoughts to himself is he? That could hurt Boris. In this last week, we expect the Tories to try to refocus on Brexit as the major issue – and Labour to try to talk about virtually anything else!

What does it all mean for Asset Prices?

The market had a lost year in 2019, with too much uncertainty. A Tory win is about 70% baked into the market, so we expect a moderate bounce on 13 December. This will be most pronounced for the likes of BT and other nationalisation victims. Despite longer term trading arrangements still being in the air, we feel that 2020 will turn into a log bull run for equities and commercial property, as investors get back to the serious business of making money.

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Farage Must Fold

Gosh, there are so many pics out there of Mr Farage with a pint!

Much as we admire Nigel Farage’s consistency in supporting his cause, his present political positioning is just madness.

Clearly, he could never have thought that Boris would tear up his deal just because it is not No Deal – which seems to be Farage’s target, So what does Nigel want? Most Brexiteers can live with Boris’ deal – and many remainers can live with the withdrawal, as it least it isn’t a crash, and it moves the topic on. The Brexit Party have no chance of power, and in many close marginals, they risk drawing just enough voters away from the Tories to gift the seat to Labour or the Liberals.

Just as in Peterborough and Brecon by-elections, they could well split the leave vote, and let one of the other parties to win, with many fewer than half of the votes cast. Does Nigel really want to be the man who let Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10? We think not. So the only conclusion is that he thinks there may be a peerage in it for him if he backs down. There can be no other logical motivation for Mr Farage to take such an extreme position.

Our Forecast

The Brexit Party will withdraw from all seats except those where the Tories have no chance anyway – ie Northern Labour-held seats. Nigel will magnanimously agree to back Boris’s deal as being better than any of the plausible alternatives. In due time, Mr Farage will enter the House of Lords.

Lord Farage of England! You heard it here first.

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Tally Ho! Hunt Still In The Hunt

Boris – only just ahead

Not going so well for Boris is it? Of course, the stories about his private life are a distraction. Even politicians have domestics don’t they? [By ‘domestics’, I refer to arguments, not below-stairs servants, though I guess Boris could have those too]. The Sunday Times chose to run a front page story about a quarrel BoJo had with his first wife more than 30 years ago. Neither this nor “Carriegate” are relevant to the policies he would deploy, But they do impact on his carefully polished image.

On to More Weighty Matters

However, on policy, Jeremy H seems to be making the running too. His focus on encouraging business has better optics for the general public than Boris’ headline of cutting taxes for the upper middle class. Though we have to remember the electorate this time is 160,000 Tory Party members…….. who may well be largely upper middle class! Could it be that Boris has targeted the correct electorate… again?

Jeremy is catching up

However, Mr Hunt has also pulled some clever moves on Brexit, assembling a team of seasoned negotiators, including Stephen Harper, ex-Canadian PM, and Rona Ambrose, another Canadian with experience of landing a deal with EU. Jeremy’s explicit promise to support farmers and rural businesses exposed to heinous tariffs in the event of No-Deal was another smart move.

Perhaps these well-thought through details are exposing that Jeremy Hunt would actually be a sharper operator than Boris Johnson. Mr Johnson’s weakness is his reputation for bluster and waffle instead of concrete command of issues. Jeremy is working well on exposing that.

It’s Not Enough.

We think the vote will be close, but Boris still gets in. What the Tories need more than anything is an election-winner. This means Brexit happening – where JH looks decidedly iffy – and a charismatic leader to pull in the votes. It is no coincidence that Remain-voters all favour Mr Hunt. Ultimately, the referendum was a binary choice. Mrs May’s attempts to keep the 48% on board didn’t win them over, and just alienated the 52% as well. The Leave camp won. Boris can see that he must deliver Brexit. Ootherwise, Mr Farage’s outfit will spell the end of the Tories. Mr Hunt lacks that clarity.

Boris is still winning, but cannot afford to be complacent.

Will Boris offer the hand of friendship? – photo BBC
Or will he be tougher? photo Standard.co.uk
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No-Deal Brexit Outcome from Today’s Peterborough By-Election

Mike Greene, soon to be MP for Peterborough

Even before the vote counting has started, it seems clear that by tomorrow the Brexit Party will have their first MP. Their candidate, Mike Greene, has run a slick campaign in a leave-town. The Tories seem to have lost more support than Labour, and may well be beaten into fourth place by the Lib-Dems.

What does this mean?

  1. The Blues will yet again be reminded of the danger of Farage’s Flying Circus. More power to Boris Johnson’s leadership challenge and his promise of “October Means October” (though, oddly, he is not using that phrase!) The Conservative Party must be seen to deliver Brexit on time and Boris is positioned perfectly for this predictable development. Who said he is a buffoon??

  2. You will remember when Parliament voted to prevent No-Deal on 3rd April. It was the only thing they seem to have agreed on all year. Yet it was passed by one vote. As the Metro breathlessly reported, it was the then Peterborough MP, newly released from prison with a curfew tag, that swung the numbers. Anger at jailbird MP who ‘stopped Brexit’ in Bill that was won by one vote

  1. It is fair to assume that the new Brexit-Party Peterborough MP is unlikely to vote against No Deal in any repeat of this motion. Suddenly the mathematics are reversed. Instead of passing by one vote, any new Yvette Cooper bill would fail by one vote. Parliament will not stop No-Deal a second time.

Funny how a by-election in a sleepy backwater could have such a large impact on our national destiny.

Boris – Soon to be Prime Minister

We see Boris as PM by 22 July. He needs Brexit on time, Deal or No Deal. The EU has little negotiating capacity and even less desire to rewrite the Withdrawal Agreement in such a short timeframe. Parliament cannot stop No deal. Boris cannot afford to blink and request a delay.

No-Deal Brexit is back on the cards

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Second Brexit Referendum Required – With a Noel Edmonds Twist

Another referendum could solve this Brexit mess!

Andrea Leadsom – assassin of Mrs May

Clearly Mrs May is toast (thank you Andrea Leadsom for wielding the knife). In a short period of time, we will have a new, dynamic, eager Prime Minister, keen to take their place in history by resolving Brexit – and hopefully by doing some other things as well. (Yes, there is still a country to run!)

Back on 9th May, in our article [The End of May]2 we suggested that Mrs May would be gone by the end of the month (Thank you thank you for your applause), but also that the new leader has some interesting choices for Brexit. To solve the impasse, the obvious choice is to tell the EU that they must give us another year to negotiate a better deal, or prepare for us to leave on 31 October.

Houses of No Decision

However, Mrs May’s departure doesn’t change the maths in the House of Commons. It is still not in favour of anything. Whilst a new improved-recipe deal might gain the parliamentary approval that was so lacking for Mrs May’s Bill, any new deal would be over a year away, and a new leader won’t want to fall into the trap of having Brexit overshadow their entire premiership.

A Second Referendum?

Up to now, a second referendum has been Remainer-speak for reversing democracy, hoping that the foolish voters will take more notice of their betters and vote the right way this time. Unfortunately, this approach is flawed. If the new plebiscite repeated the Leave verdict, the route to leaving is contentious still. If it overturned the earlier decision and went for Remain, then the matter would not be closed for the rest of our lifetimes.  So a second Leave/Remain referendum would not provide a solution.

Here is the Twist!

The people voted to Leave. That is a done decision and cannot be reversed legitimately. Parliament cannot decide how to enact the instruction of the people. So the further referendum must be purely between the deal suggested by the EU – or a WTO-type departure. This would be the Noel Edmonds Referendum: DEAL or NO DEAL

This solution is;-

  1. Democratically valid and consistent

  2. Easy to explain and enact

  3. Does not try to reverse the earlier referendum

  4. Blocks the growth of the Brexit Party (which is scaring the Tories)

  5. Resolves the issue one way or another this summer

  6. Gives businesses and people certainty in a short timeframe

  7. Let’s our politicians get back to what they do best (whatever that may be)

Noel Edmonds, a titan of light entertainment

We commend A Second Referendum to select how we leave the EU: either with the Withdrawal Bill, or trading under WTO Rules (Deal or No Deal)

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Who Next For the Tory Leadership?

Last week, we speculated how Brexit could be extended by 12 months to 31 October 2020 in our “The End of May BY The End of May” article. Prolonging the agony? More like extending the fun for us.

Whilst always hesitant to make forecasts – particularly about the future (Ed. What other kinds of forecasts are there?) – it still feels like change is in the air-conditioning.

Mrs May is due to meet the 1922 Committee Executive (aka The Men In Grey Suits) later this morning. According to the Daily Telegraph, they will tell her that the game is up and she must leave before the summer recess.

You know what this means???? Instead of a quiet summer forgetting about politics, we will have a Tory Leadership / PM election contest.

Andrea Leadsom – who didn’t lead any

As you know, the system is that the MPs elect a shortlist of two, with the grassroots Conservative members making the final choice. Last time, Andrea Leadsom made it on to the ticket, but them withdrew, resulting in no contest. The activists will not stand for that this time.

In normal times, the MPs would choose two characters broadly acceptable to a majority of themselves: truly a case of who has the fewest enemies. This is how we had such bland leaders as John Major and David Cameron. Nobody would call either of them dynamic inspiring leaders, but they were widely tolerated.

However, this is not a normal time. This is a national emergency akin to when Margaret Thatcher was elected as Tory Leader in 1975. Ted Heath had thoroughly blown it for the blues, and a radical change was required. It’s not quite the same as Winston Churchill riding to the rescue in 1940 – though the analogy may have occurred to Mr Churchill’s biographer, one Boris Johnson.

Thus this time, it won’t be a healing, centre-ist, least-objectionable leader. The last thing the grass-roots Tories want is “Continuation May”. The May approach hasn’t worked out well so far has it?

Priority number one for the MP’s and activists is winning the next election. Right now, they have no chance. An election tomorrow would result in a hung parliament – with Labour ahead but Brexit Party not far behind, and the Tories third. So the Tories can see that they need to return more to their free-trading, right-wing, libertarian roots. Oh, and they need to resolve Brexit in a manner that makes it seem like a) it has really happened, and b) it doesn’t look like the EU got one over on us!

Boris in rallying cry – now deliver it! (Pic from FT)

There will be a cast of candidates – and it really is a Grand National where anyone could win. However, of the runners and riders, we believe Boris will make the conquest. He is not tainted by the current Government incompetence, he is generally thought to have done a half-decent job winning the London Mayoral election and then actually running it. What the Conservatives need more than anything is a break from Mrs May, and a proven election-winner. As an alternative, Liz Truss has caught our eye because she believes in traditional Conservative small-government and free markets – values which make the conservatives seem more than “Labour-lite”.

The MPs are aware that their Constituency Chairs and members have had enough. Pressure will be applied to select a winner.

Boris, your time has come!

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Brexit With Only A Short Delay

Sorry, Brexit again today!

Still businesses cannot plan for the second half of the year. Will the EU27 put us out of our misery? Everyone has had enough of Brexit by now surely – except for the media?  I’d love to know how it affects newspaper sales and radio/tv listener and viewer figures.

The betting is on a much longer extension than Mrs May’s proposed 30 June. Given that she has been neutered by Parliament, she will have to accept whatever delay she is given. Of course, the EU leaders will determine what is in their own best interests. They can agree on any date they like, and even demand all sorts of concessions. What will be their drivers?

  1. Nobody wants to take the blame for a No Deal Brexit.

  2. The EU does not want to have endless focus on Brexit when it has plenty of other issues to resolve

  3. They must expect that forcing the UK to hold European elections on 23 May risks a huge vote for the Brexit Party/UKIP – which is not the example they will want to show to their own populist voters.

  4. They can see that the Tory/Labour “talks” are being held for show, and are unlikely to get a Parliament-proof agreement.

  5. Any date beyond 30 June will mean that they have a new UK Prime Minister, who will be keen to make a mark by taking a much tougher approach with negotiations, starting with tearing up the existing Withdrawal Agreement. This is not good news for the EU.

It feels like the best scenario for the EU is to keep those deadlines short and tight, perhaps pushing Parliament to choose between the current May Deal or revoking Article 50 altogether. This could result in a cast-iron, firm leaving date of 22 May – and maybe even as soon as 26 April.

From a business point of view, the uncertainty must cease. Having a year-long postponement just means kicking the can down the road, with nothing being settled for another year. Such an outcome will not play well with the electorate, and could be very damaging to the Conservative Party. But it would give plenty of time for a new leader to be installed and start negotiations anew.

Given the five aspects listed above, it is clear that No-deal could still happen, and to us, a short extension feels most likely, with 30 June as the backstop. (No, not THAT backstop.  Actually, the Ireland Island issue has been quiet recently hasn’t it?). And this time, there really will be No Deal if Parliament doesn’t vote for anything else.

 

Please, just get it over with, and make it as quick and painless as possible.

 

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